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Upskilling needed in school curriculum to make students industry-ready

Students have to be technically skilled or they will be left behind in the digital revolution

Rajesh Panda | Updated on: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 06:10 PM IST

A non-skill developing curriculum falls way short of the expectations of the current times.
/Representative image |
A non-skill developing curriculum falls way short of the expectations of the current times. /Representative image |
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While I struggle to get my 5-year-old admitted into the school with an array of challenges poised, I hear myself talk out loud many a time that education was far too simple in our times. And, we were lucky to have completed our education during the simpler times. Simple education, simple work opportunities! And, kid you not, I am content.

Cut to now! The education system seems to have transcended into a complex algorithm that every student and parent alike is on the quest to solve and come out victorious on the other side. Of course, the spectrum is not limited to school education. Students undertake a wide range of private lessons for the higher education exams and to get into the institutions of their liking.

But guess what, it still is not enough. Not enough to give them an overall growth and hone the skills required for the world outside the educational institutions.

With a dynamic and disruptive world moving at a fast pace and changing faster than we can ever imagine, a non-skill developing curriculum falls way short of the expectations of the current times. Various industries have oftentimes raised the issues of the students not being equipped enough with the practical skill sets required to enter and thrive in the real world outside the education institutions.

Hold up; what skill sets are you talking about?

World Economic Forum Exhibit: 21st-century skill set required for the comprehensive growth of students

Students require 16 skills for 21st century

Students require 16 skills for 21st century | Lifelong Learning

Of course, the educational foundation is the primary impetus. Still, World Economic Forum's New Vision for Education (2015) listed down a detailed set of skills to ensure an individual's comprehensive growth and make them immediately ready for the work environment.

Creative, problem-solving, and communication competencies are the primary modes where you will be putting your education to work in the work environment. So getting students to build up these core competencies will give their careers a big push. Companies also prefer candidates equipped with these soft skill sets, which they can then invest in and bring them up to speed vis-à-vis their own work requirements.

Why are technology skills important?

My child is already pro at using all the devices I have at home, you say! Of course, an increasingly immersive experience is available at the behest of the world to date, thanks to the easy availability of devices, technologies, and the virtual world at an arm's length. These days, children are also exposed to these advancements at home, school, or elsewhere. Technology has become an inseparable part of our lives these days, and rightly so.

Hence, no matter the educational background or the skillset developed, it has become equally important for the kids to be technically skilled, or they will be left behind in the digital revolution. One will only remain a passive consumer of the technology if these skills or this knowledge sub-set is not provided.

What can schools do to be ready for this curriculum update?

The new education policy appears to focus on developing skills among learners. But it is too early to predict that this paradigm shift will bring about a revolutionary change and would generate a sense of relevance. Starting from Pre-K, to K-12, to higher education, schools have started to craft out various skill development programs. However, the schools are still falling short of the bare minimum. Because if they were to craft an educational policy with a serious implementation of skill development, the current model would become obsolete overnight.

So, what is the solution you ask?

An achievable solution? A strong integration between educational institutes and industries will help chalk the path where those absorbing the manpower can spell out their requirements which can be taught through the institutions and make the passing out crop more desirable to be taken in instantly. A marriage between the industry leaders and educational experts will lead to a highly synergized demography that is skilled and employable.

Let us all create happy, content, and skilled children who will translate into a competent future workforce!

(Rajesh Panda is Founder and CEO, Corporate Gurukul-learning and development company)

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Published on: Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 06:10 PM IST